New genetic mutations can lower heart attack risk

4 February 2015

Two new genetic mutations have been identified that work together to lower a person's risk of heart attack, research has found.

Researchers from Ohio State University focused on a gene called DBH, which regulates an enzyme involved in the conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine. On their own, each variant has a minimal or undetectable effect on the gene's impact on disease risk. However, when they came together, their interaction substantially reduced DBH gene levels. This creates conditions in the body that protect against a heart attack.

The team compared the genetic variants causing a drop in gene expression using data from clinical records of three groups of patients. Across all participants, patients with the two variants had a two to five-fold lower risk of having a heart attack, while around a fifth of the general population carrying both.

"Our goal is to find genetic variants in key genes that are important medically and important for designing more efficient drug therapies," said Wolfgang Sadee, professor of pharmacology and director of the Center for Pharmacogenomics at Ohio State University and senior author of the study.

The research is published in the journal Circulation Research.

Posted by Philip Briggs 

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